Jimmy Strobl

This conversation is closed.

What are the best and worst laws and practices of your region/state/country

Answer as many as you'd like.

Closing Statement from Jimmy Strobl

Many great thoughts in this conversation, I wish that they still had open-ended Conversations...

I had fun, learned much!

Anyway, It's "impossible" to summarize it, sorry about that.

  • Sep 24 2012: I just thought of one that comes up every now and again in my personal discussions with others. One of the worst practices in the US of A: Allowing taxes which are collected for specific programs to end up in the collective tax fund of various municipalities, state, and federal entities. For example, I live in NY. We have one of the highest tax burdens in the US- usually #1 or #2 every year for at least a decade now. Plus there are additional fees and taxes thrown into our lives all day long. Take, for instance, bridge tolls: Down in NY City the tolls for bridges are over $8.00 now (approaching $9, I believe). For that kind of money, and given the 24/7 rediculous amount of traffic, one might be tempted to believe that NY City's bridges are the best maintained bridges on the planet. We should be able to eat off of the bridges' roads, and they should be painted in 24k gold by now?! But no, potholes, rust, broken lights, delipetated toll booths. Usually at least one lane is broken down all year around. How come? Easy - our political machine takes the vast majority of the tolls and applies them to various pet projects outside of anything to do with road maintenance.
    Every penny of every tax should be directly allocated to a particular program, a particular cause. This way, if they wanted to raise taxes or - just by chance - lower them, we would all know what's going on. It's a very basic, vital idea. Taxpayers should know exactly what happens to every cent, not just get graph of TAX IN >> TAX OUT like we do every year. Statements should be simple to follow, and politicians should stop playing with our taxes like it's fake Monopoly (c) money. I think this would go a long way towards fixing financial problems, especially in my state, plus - it would finally let politician do what they're supposed to do. Fix crisis and look out for our taxes. Stop playing board games with taxes.
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      Sep 25 2012: we are the same .the government just charge too much from us citizens .i think we should let the government open .that is my idea
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    Sep 20 2012: The best laws are the environmental protection laws; but because they are hardly enforced I wonder if it is right to call them laws.
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      Sep 22 2012: Hi Feyisayo,
      I agree that environmental protection laws are important, and sometimes, we, as members of our communities need to speak up and encourage using the laws where appropriate. I found that to be true in my community. There were environmental protection laws in place for years that were being ignored. There needs to be communication between the various permitting boards, and we need to keep "reminding" people that there is a law.

      I used to believe that because there were laws, everybody followed them!!! Not so!!! As a past member of the local permitting boards, and present member of the regional permitting board, I learned that the authorities need CONSTANT reminders to ENFORCE!!!

      I've also noticed that depending on who is in office, influences the enforcement of the laws. We had a republican governor for awhile who got very friendly with Pres. Bush, and he "relaxed" the wetland rules and other environmental protection laws in our state.

      The secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources here, is appointed by the governor, so depending on who our governor is at any time, we may see a difference in enforcement. If we do not know about this "stuff", people usually assume that because there is a law, everything is ok......not always so!

      If we're not part of the solution, we're part of the problem, so I highly recommend being at least informed regarding these issues in our own areas of the world.
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    Sep 25 2012: Worst: Insulting the president can get me in prison. And I'm in a 2 years old revolution country, Egypt :(
  • Sep 24 2012: I think the USA should get ride of the practice of permanent subsidies. I use the term subsidy loosely as you will see below, but here are just a couple cases I've seen in which the US is giving out the wrong incentives.

    Corn - by subsidizing corn it increases its value, which results in farmers growing more then what is necessary. What do we do with the extra corn, well we turn it into ethanol . There are more efficient and cheaper ways to make ethanol, but we now have an incentive to use corn because there's extra.

    Fuel - With the cost of fuel so cheap people purchased large SUVs and drove everywhere. Current prices are reaching over 4 dollars a gallon, it still doesn't account for the damage to the environment or the cost of keeping the Navy active in the Middle East.

    Electricity - In the state of Washington electricity is held below the market value. This makes it hard for renewable energy to compete because the average household is going to stick with whatever is cheaper and I don't blame them.

    Kids - the US gives a tax break for each additional child you have. I don't think its right for the government to try and limit the number of kids a family has, but there shouldn't be a tax break on your third, forth or fifth kid. It rewards families for growing.

    I don't suggest we cut subsidies off over night, the out come would be disastrous, but we need to start leaning ourselves off of them.
    • Sep 24 2012: Yeah, subsidies are often stupid. How about tobacco? It couldn't possibly get much stupider than that. We pay taxes to smoke it, and they grow more, and it's deadly. Also, because we've insisted on growing so much corn over recent decades, countries that farmed it for centuries before we came into existence, like Mexico, can't grow it on small farms and compete anymore. We grow the corn, and the jobless Mexicans can come cut our grass and carry our Sheetrock up the stairs, so we don't have jobs and they don't have jobs, and we do their jobs and they do our jobs and its a big happy global economy. But it ain't. It isn't a free market. There has never been a true free market in a country or a region ever. Name one.
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      Sep 25 2012: I agree with you. The corn subsidies have created all of these unhealthy foods to be cheaper then natural, fresh foods by making corn, corn by products, corn syrup etc the go-to for all of those wonderful fast food restaurants- geeze- a lot of places actually. All the while monsanto is a major benefactor.
      Kids- for sure- about time we give incentives for fewer offspring. (harsh but true I think)
      And then fuels/resources- that is my pet peeve- Europe for years has had a more realistic pricing for energy sources- and guess what- their economies didn't shrink (from that at least- only from poor lending practices they picked up from America) but people became WISER. In general I think these subsidies of "The American Way" are part of our downfall- and we need to relax them and tier them off to become more resilient and aware.
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    Sep 20 2012: Jimmy....great topic!
    The region and state I live in (Vermont) has very strong environmental laws, and a states attorney who is very interested in protecting our environment and is not afraid to challenge even the federal laws to keep our state more environmentally safe and healthy. The state, regional and local governing boards work very closely to ensure that our environment is protected as much as possible:>)

    We are one of the first in the country to legalize civil unions, and same sex marriage. We were the first in the country to have a female legislator, female senator, judge and governor.

    I'm really pretty proud of this state....can't think of any "worst laws", although I suspect there are some.

    OH....the "worst" one was removed a few years ago...
    "A man had the right to whip and/or shoot his wife for certain infractions".......glad THAT one is gone!!!!!Although it was not used for many years (thankfully) it was still on the books!!!
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      Sep 22 2012: Thank you Colleen.

      I can see why you're proud and I'm really glad that you got rid of that nasty law.
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        Sep 22 2012: It was indeed a "nasty law" Jimmy. The fact that women were considered "property" of their husband is pretty unreasonable. Unfortunately, it appears that there are still places in our world where this concept exists.
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    Gail .

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    Sep 20 2012: I am a non-christian living in the United States and in the super-fundamentalist- religious south. Therefore,

    Woman are not allowed to own their own bodies.

    Children are not taught important things in schools

    I am forced to pray to the Christian God before serving on Jury duty, being a witness in a court case, or even when spending any money that reads "In God We Trust".

    I am forced to pay taxes, and then I am forced to accept the fact that some of those taxes will be paid to private charities whose works I find horribly immoral.

    The laws of my state protect criminals if they work under the protection of a "corporation" - even if the criminal is the corporation's only employee. (Let's say that you hire a licensed contractor to do some home repairs. If he takes your money and never returns, there is nothing you can do but sue him and hope that you can get some money back. The state agencies that are supposed to protect the public exist for the purpose of protecting the criminal)

    I moved to this area last year. People here are so ignorant and our politicians are corrupt, lazy, christians.
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      Sep 20 2012: TED Lover,
      This is just an idea regarding corrupt leaders....

      We had a lot of conflict of interest issues on the governing boards in our community when I moved here 40+ years ago. I did not have time, energy or inclination to address any of it then, because I had a family, career, etc. When I retired, however, there was time, so I applied for positions on the local governing boards, and was appointed....first one....then another......

      As I served on the boards, I gradually uncovered conflicts, and made them known publically. Of course the folks who were gaining financially from their conflicts didn't appreciate me very much, but many people in the community were grateful that I was speaking about the issues they were afraid to address for so many years. It took a looooonnnng time and lots of patience, and I believe if we are not part of the solution, we are part of the problem.

      When there is corruption in our local, regional, state, federal and global governing bodies, it impacts all of us, so eventually, people come on board to try to clean up the situation........just a thought my friend:>)
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        Gail .

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        Sep 20 2012: I've been working on the corruption part for more than a year and a half now, and it is tediously slow, and it requires GREAT patience, as you say. But I keep on keeping on. I have the time and it is good to practice patience. (Will I ever be satisfied with my patience quotient??? LOL)
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          Sep 21 2012: OH MY!!! TED Lover.....a year and a half??? I won't tell you how long it took to clean things up here....don't want to discourage you! Continue my friend, with patience...we always have room for more patience...LOL:>)
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          Sep 22 2012: I hear you TED Lover! Just keep at it!
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      Sep 23 2012: You must live close to me TL. ;)
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    Sep 25 2012: I think the worst practice here..is word play.

    Our government uses so much rhetoric...it's very had to distinguish fact from fiction.

    Another note is that policy is written in languages we cannot understand.

    Although you may read and interpret these policies at will...there is no way for the average person to understand the implications of policy or law.

    We are so caught up with careers, ipods, and relationships that I think we ignore government...and just complain when things don't work out.
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    Sep 25 2012: I'll have to say Teacher's Union that leaves parents with very little choices in public school education. Parents who can afford private education will continue to do so and those being left without alternatives will continue to suffer. Sure, Union is a good thing in so many areas, but not when it comes to public education base on its constitution. Precisely speaking, union is a good thing to guarantee the teachers' pay and benefits. However, the by laws needs to change/altered and teachers evaluations need to be given annually to benefit the students/education in general. When the teacher is not performing up to par, consequences need to be given. Seniority does not equal to performance! There are plenty of good teachers who are capable of classroom management as well as teaching. Those who are without BOTH skills need to either take enrichment classes before returning to teaching force or let go.
  • Sep 22 2012: I believe one of the best modern laws as practiced in the US is the drunk driving law. When I was in my late teens and early twenties, many people I knew, myself included, drove drunk. The police hardly ever caught anyone, they simply didn't persue it. This was the 1970s. In the 1980s, the police began aggressively finding and stopping drunk drivers, and now drunk driving is very much a serious offense which can result in jail time. Drunk driving is such a serious issue, as often innocent people are harmed or killed in accidents involving drunk drivers, that it's important and effective that the police spend much time and energy enforcing the law. Certainly, lives must be being saved. It is taxpayer dollars well spent in the justice system.
  • Sep 22 2012: In my country, when someone accidentally finds a wallet on the street, he should immediately go to any police stations. If he doesn’t go there on the spot, he’s regarded as a stealer even if he doesn’t mean to. Sounds quite okay, so far. But if he has no time to do it, and decides to find the owner or police station a moment later, he's supposed to be caught for stealing the wallet even if he was going to give it back to the owner few minutes later.
    A few weeks ago, a man was caught because of this ridiculous law. He found the wallet while he was on the go. Rather than going to the police station, he kept it for a few hours until he finish working and reported a loss to a police officer, but after few minutes later, the owner of the wallet knew that he was keeping her stuff, and called him(she got his number through the police officer) and told him that she's going to accuse him of stealing something that doesn't belong to him. He explained that he's so many things to take care of at that time and told her that he’d give it back to her soon. But she was impatient, and called the police to accuse him. He got caught and the punishment was way too much for him to take. Then, if I find a wallet on the street when I’m really busy, I should ignore it, right? So that I wouldn’t get caught for stealing a wallet even though I was going to give it back to the owner. Provided that I ignored the wallet, then, it’s possible that someone would take the wallet intentionally to get some money from it and still wouldn’t get caught. Who’s going to report a loss to police officers voluntarily, then? People would be afraid of doing even a good thing for the owner in this case. Although the intention of law might be for public good, if it’s misapplied, what’s the point of it? As you can see from this case, if the owner is too hasty or tries to accuse an innocent person like him of stealing on purpose, people, especially bad people could use the law with wrong intention, don't you think?
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      Sep 22 2012: Hello Elizabeth:>)
      That woman who wanted to accuse the man of stealing because he kept the wallet longer than she thought necessary seems to be unreasonable, don't you think? I would have been grateful to get the wallet back!!!

      EDIT:
      Regarding comment below:
      I thought that's what you were talking about Elizabeth.....I was reinforcing:>)
      • Sep 22 2012: Hi, Colleen :)
        That's what I'm talking about...! !!
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      Sep 23 2012: Yeah, if that law is that narrow then I would just step over it and let the police pick it up or toss it into a store of something. It is amazing though. Here in the United States, believe it or not many people do track down the owner and give them their wallet. But there is that crowd of other people who aren't as honest.
  • Sep 21 2012: The worst practice in the US of A: Allowing religious charlatans to spew hatred and lies on a daily basis on TV, in print, and during religious ceremonies, and then allowing these practices to continue under the guise of "religious tolerance".

    We have active public figures ON VIDEO (and who knows how many times not on video) lament how people of other beliefs, non-believers (I guess they're different from "other religions"), gays, women, rape victims, etc. etc. should be physically or spiritually "damned, tortured, or cast out". This kind of nonsense needs to stop. If someone made a direct verbal assault against another person and made public threats, they would be arrested and prosecuted under terrorism laws. But if they do this same thing from an imaginary altar or while holding some kind of religious token in their fist, it's called "religious expression" or "religious freedom".

    As Sam Harris once stated - "Religious tolerance" is a misnomer. Religious people, by definition, don't practice it but demand it at every turn from everyone around them. It should be called "intolerance".

    Between THAT, and our politicians wanting to hug these people all the time. Don't know which practice is worse. The complete and utter suspension of common sense every time the word "religion" is invoked, or how our leaders drape themselves in it. Shameful, the whole lot of it.
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      Sep 22 2012: I'm so glad that I don't live over there. Luckily I live in a very atheistic country and the church and state officially separated in the year 2000.
      And it looks like the last and only christian party isn't going to get in to parliament next election.

      I agree with everything you say and feel bad for you that you and many others have to suffer through this idiocracy.
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        Sep 25 2012: Interesting perspective. I'm a non-believer when it is framed in the context of organized religion; however, I consider myself spiritual. My question to you: is there a sense of spirituality over there along with the atheistic culture? Or is there at least a sense of awe and wonderment regarding our life/universe inherent within your atheistic community/culture? I think it helps one to be less judgmental in one's life to have a spiritual foundation.
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      Sep 22 2012: Harro,
      I agree with much of what you write. I am all for acceptance of religions, religious beliefs and practices IF THEY DO NOT ADVERSLY IMPACT OTHER PEOPLE. I believe that we have tolerated practices that are NOT in any way beneficial to the whole of humanity. Abuse, and violation of human rights, which has been practiced under the guise of religions should NOT be tolerated in our global community. So perhaps we need to seperate our understanding of peaceful religious practices from abuse and violation of other's human rights?

      I totally agree with you that "INtolerance" seems to be generated from WITHIN religious groups. When people encourage religious tolerance, I say "show me". Show me that those practicing a religion can be tolerant of others and not abuse and violate the rights of others. Let's all walk the talk! It feels very hypocritical to me, when we hear religious extremists/fundamentalists speaking about how loving they are, as they are chastising and/or abusing those who do not accept their beliefs.
      • Sep 22 2012: "forgive US, for WE don't know what WE are doing"
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          Sep 25 2012: Dear Sergio,
          You don't know what you are doing? You are a human being? You make choices?
      • Sep 24 2012: Arguably, when it comes to religious positions, even relatively benign issues will almost invariable end up "IMPACTING" others. Take reproductive rights and how the US has just spent the last 10 years spinning its wheels idly when it came to developing gene therapies. All thanks to the Catholic right which equates stem cell research to murder. The calling of condoms as being a "sin", for example: 5 Million deaths in Africa every year attributed to Aids. How many could have been avoided with a cheap piece of rubber?
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          Sep 25 2012: I agree Harro,
          Many seemingly "benign" issues almost always impact many people.
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      Sep 23 2012: Freedom of expression give you the right to say what you just posted. I feel that same as you do but I would like to find them guilty of something different. Like, verbal assault, which has been protected at times. I'm sure if they pick the wrong child of a mafia leader they won't do it again. I don't see the government as coddling these people they are paid to protect our constitutional rights. It's their job.
      • Sep 24 2012: Respectfully, but vehemently disagreeable: As a politician, in particular an elected official, you shouldn't have the "luxury" of *protecting* (your word) freedom of speech when it leads to the breaking of laws, the supression of constitutional rights of others, health care crisis, and war mongering. In the last 30 days alone I have seen so-called pastors condemn women for speaking up, calling for holy war against muslims, and proclaiming that the only path to peace is "through the sword". And then our beloved leaders, the same ones we have elected and continue to support (mostly through our own neglect of political issues rather than active support), take on these causes and politicize them in full public view, completely ignorant of basic facts of health care, mental health issues, and the fact that over 90% of the world, which has access to the same media as we do in many places, don't necessarily wholeheartedly agree with "our" take on these issues. It might be well and good if these issues never left our borders, but many times they "help" dictate our foreign policy, not to mention the foreign policy of other countries.
        Weak or nonexistent censorship of religious hatred ends up costing us in many ways, many more than I care to count or have the space to mention in this forum. Witness the $100,000 bounty issued yesterday by a politician of Pakistan for the head of one of our citizens. All this more than a week after the embassy attacks, and still every politician treads around "religious tolerance" and feelings. Leadership is leading, not following. They need to start sending the message, here and abroad, that any hate speech, and any physical violence, are not acceptable. Start here at home, and see where leadership will take us abroad. Until we stop dancing around basic issues of 6,000 year old dinosaurs and gay rights, we will never lead other countries out of their dark ages. It really is that simple.
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    Sep 20 2012: I'm a big fan of laws against rape, murder, unprovoked assault, and theft... Pretty much everything else is useless in my opinion. I do consider spewing poison into the air or water unprovoked assault however.

    I think your question may have been part of my motivation for writing about my least favorite law however, "Stop and Frisk", in New York, where I used to live.
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      Sep 22 2012: I wonder what else you view as unprovoked assault?

      How exactly does the "Stop and Frisk" law work in New York? And how is it in other states?
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        Sep 22 2012: Hasn't been done in America in at least 50 years, not in a city. Pure violation of the Bill of Rights. Basically, police can stop you, and pat you down in New York City for "any articulable reason". So far 6 percent of the 700,000+ people they pat down, actually conceal something worthy of arrest. .13% of people they search are carrying a gun, what they claim to be looking for. 84 % of people searched, are black or latino, 90% men... Obviously drug arrests are the most common.

        That's pretty much it, I would have very few laws... Water supplies, and air quality are knowns within a community however. We also know a lot of poison and harmful substances... Seems like we could define a line at which a corporation is participating in the willful injury of a community and it's citizens.

        Also, I shouldn't have said unprovoked, I've actually been thinking about this a lot lately... but physical assault would be where I draw the line, it doesn't have to be unprovoked. You should be able to say anything to another human being, without fear of assault. Confrontations should be worked out through rational discourse.

        If an argument turns into a fair fight however, and both people kept goading one another, I think you fall into a grey area, and that's where good local police and judges are important for stopping a perfectly nice person who had a bad day from being a non voting felon.

        http://www.ted.com/conversations/13931/if_the_stop_and_frisk_law_in.html
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    Sep 20 2012: The impotence of the numerous anti-corruption laws against shady politicians and fraudulent business operations is really annoying.

    It would seem as the system is indirectly telling petty thieves and pickpockets that "If you're going to steal, steal millions and billions"

    Its as if the judiciary is for sale; all for the highest bidder's taking.
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      Sep 20 2012: I hear you Feyisayo, it is the same in this country.
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      Sep 20 2012: Brilliantly put. "If you're going to steal, steal millions and billions"... So tragic, but it made me laugh.
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      Sep 22 2012: I think that it's the same everywhere... Don't know how to stop it though...
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      Sep 23 2012: You know what they say, if you kill someone your a murderer. If you kill ten thousand people, your a conqueror.
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    Sep 20 2012: my fav almost-law is this: if you wait for a state office decision, and the decision is not made within a preset time period, usually 30 days, you can interpret it as if the decision was in your favor, and this is final. for example you need to get a permit to build an extension to your house. you apply for the permit, they don't answer for 30 days, you can build it.

    alas, this was only a proposal, never made it to an actual law. but almost got passed.
    • Sep 20 2012: That's not a bad idea, you also wouldn't have to wonder when you get your permit: you'd know you'll get it exactly 29 days after applying.
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      Sep 22 2012: Krisztián and John,
      This is a good law, which was passed in this state several years ago. When I first served on the permitting boards, it was NOT a law, and I observed the timing of notifications being misused. If the chair of the permitting board did not like the applicant, or had a conflict with the applicant, the process would drag on and on, and the applicant was left with no decision. If the chair was working for the applicant (owned an excavating business) the application process was pretty easy.

      I mentioned conflict of interest on the governing boards in our community in another comment....this was part of the conflict, which was also apparent in other communities. The law now clearly states that for a certain process, there are so many days to respond either with approval or denial, and there has to be legitimate reasons (findings of fact in writing) for either approval/denial. If the permitting board does NOT respond in writing, it is considered approved. This put the brakes on board's misuse of the timing of approval/denial, and also clearly defined an applicants expectations regarding notification.
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      Sep 22 2012: Here is a related situation that could have been ameliorated with such a law in place.

      A storekeeper in Philadelphia repeatedly asked his city government to clear the garbage/trash that had been accumulating for some time on the city owned lot adjacent to his store. After many weeks (or was it months?) without reply, he spent $20,000 of his own money to haul away forty tons of garbage, level the earth, and plant it with lawn, shrubs, and park benches.

      The neighbors were very excited for the transformation of the eye sore into a "park."

      The city, however, cited the man for his alteration of property not his own and demanded he return the lot to its former state.
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      Sep 23 2012: You may be onto something there Pinter. I might like that law.
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    Sep 20 2012: Health and Safety legislation is one of the very worst here in the UK. Along with the published negativity in our media, it encourages parental over-protection. All that does is to remove any sense of risk and adventure for kids, whose natural inclination is for creative fun in the great outdoors. Then we wonder why they become housebound, looking at a computer screen all day.

    The best laws and practices? I'm still working on that one...
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      Sep 22 2012: Published negativity in media is a global problem. People are programmed to pay attention to dangers and therefore they sell more if it's bad news which has many, many negative effects.
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      Sep 22 2012: Allan and Jimmy,
      Many of us agree that negativity in the media is a global problem, and we continue to see it happening....because it "sells" as you say Jimmy. I believe that what we focus on expands. It is good to be aware of what is happening in our world, and to focus on it all the time encourages more of the same.
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      Sep 23 2012: I'm a bit touchy on the child laws Allen. I don't know if I want to cut back on them. When I was a child, a man's house was his castle. A father could do some real damage on a kid and have the judge tell them "good job" Spare the rod and spoil the child has gotten many children killed.
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        Sep 23 2012: I think there is a connection between what appears in the media, its effect on parliamentary debate and the initiation of health and safety legislation - and then the type of ridiculous lawsuits we see taking place for minor injury

        In all of this, there seems to be a lack of responsibility for our own actions, coupled to an insidious commercial agenda, encouraging a culture of 'blame'. If I injure myself, it is usually due to my own lack of attention - not necessarily someone else's incompetence.

        Suing for things like minor injury introduces another 'feedback loop', for want of a better word, which further tightens up health and safety legislation to the point of destroying freedom, innovation, creativity etc from child's play and inventiveness at one end, right through to manufacturing processes at the other.

        I'm with you John, on the issue of child protection. But I think too many rigid child laws can absolve responsibility of parents to protect their own children. I think that's more down to education, rather than legislation.
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          Sep 23 2012: Allan I understand you position on issues such as this. However, Children are everyones responsibility and we will protect them from those sick minds that would just love for us to let our guard down.

          A minor injury to you, say a broken finger of a twisted ankle might be something very big to a one armed individual or a person with only one foot. Twenty dollars to a poor man is comparable to serious wealth to those with much more in their bank account. That's why we have judges to figure these little problems out for us. If you don't have any other means to protect yourself or your property, suing is the way to go. I love it.

          Judges are paid to sort through these types of things.

          Prosecutors are also paid to deal with crime. If I were a rich man and being taxed at the 80 percent rate, I'd probably be a bit put off by the rest of societies petty squabbles but I'm not rich so I don't see their problem. If the judge needs a pay raise we will just have to raise taxes to deal with it. That's how the system works and keeps moving along.

          As I said too simplistic, or lax child protection laws are just what those sneaky pedophiles want us to produce to make their hunt a little bit more successful. You know what I mean Allan? You can talk about economics and you can talk about politics but pedophiles.....they always talk about child protection laws. They are easy to spot so you keep your eyes open.
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    Sep 25 2012: It's not so much the laws. It's the lawyers who abuse the system for maxiumum gain.
  • Sep 25 2012: most of the media. --worst.
  • Sep 25 2012: also cigarrets are legal, and are legal even when you smoke among children and kids.
  • Sep 25 2012: school system. the system of things, like laws , and schools regulations.
    systems limiting potential in a state or city
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    Sep 23 2012: My answer would be the criminal justice system.

    The entire system is a horrible practice.
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      Sep 25 2012: Agreed. It is based on the concept of punishing non conformity, and the notion that we all posses the ability to control our behaviors. The criminal justice system is selective in its prosecution of individuals and is guilty of racial profiling for the most part.
      Rarely do cases ever go before a jury of ones peers. Prosecutors plea bargain cases by coercing those that can't afford lawyer and this means that police forces decide who will be sent to jail and who won't not judges.

      Search YouTube for "Tasers" to watch videos of how the police are treating Americans.
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    Sep 23 2012: Yea David. Reagan gave the money to California he took from combat veterans, in the process of turning them into second class citizens. He did a real hatchet job on the Veterans Administration.
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    Sep 23 2012: I live in Jamaica, have for all my life, and one thing I love is the sense of community... I'm not sure about laws, but if a Jamaican is walking down the road and doesn't say "Good morning" as they pass, it is considered very rude. We also always have somewhere to go because everyone down here looks out for one another.

    As far as worst laws, Jamaica is highly homophobic, it is illegal to practice homosexuality down here, though it is increasing. All the time, homosexuals are stoned and beaten, sometimes killed, because most of us are raised with the mind set that different is awful (I get a lot of talk simply because I'm an atheist).
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    Sep 23 2012: Here in Belgium, I find the inheritance taxes a bit unfair.
    We already pay up to 55% taxes, which is ok with me because we have a great healthcare system. You don't have to be rich (or wait) to benefit from quality medical services.
    But the inheritance taxes are also fairly high, it can amount to 30%.
    So, it means if someone makes 100k a year, he will keep 45k. Should he decease, these 45k will be taxed again at a 30% rate.
    Do the math, the money left is 31,5k...which means there's almost a 70% tax on income in some cases (starting from a certain amount of money left by the deceased, you wouldn't pay 30% on 45k but you get the picture). It's outrageous.

    As for the best, Belgium is usually one of the first countries to adopt laws such as the right for abortion, same sex marriage, etc. That I'm proud of!
    Greetings from Belgium,
    Bruno
  • Sep 23 2012: Yes, WE (The benevolent government) will make that decision. Do you disagree? Are you implying that in the society in which you dwell, you would prefer it if people were left to their own decisions about drinking while driving cars?
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      Sep 23 2012: Who is your reply to Chris?
      • Sep 23 2012: Pat Gilbert. I apologize to you and he, I'm new with Ted, and new with an ipad.
        Thought I was replying to his comment.
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      Sep 23 2012: I'm not implying anything.
    • Sep 25 2012: not necessarily, however even a countries that claims to be 'democratic" are really not.
      people for the most part don't have a say in a hole lot of things the government decide to enforce. -that mainly affect those with no say. (the weak)
      also the government doesn't necessarily care for the progress and well being of most of the population(a lot of it is self-desire, politics)
      i understand people, may act dumb, or have wild believes that can affect society in negative ways, ---so they may not make right decisions if given the power to govern.
      however the fact is 90% working population is not being heard, (AND EVEN IF THEY ARE HEARD THEY NOT BEING TAKEN SERIOUSLY), virtually they don't have any power in things such as laws (and i believe even electing an president) in a FIRST world country such as the u.s.
      you'll be surprise how much better the world can do, if people all around the world had a powerful say in politics, and the government, EVERYONE. on EVERYTHING.
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    Sep 23 2012: Oh, I can't say about the worst law, but the worst thing is that laws in my home country get overridden all the time. Few people really have legal awareness. Due process? That's just a "process".

    The best part? Well...you can pirate numerous songs, movies, books and update your phones so you won't have to pay for apps. (I guess that could be a "good" thing sometimes. But, as for the message it sets forth, it's still no good.)
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    Sep 23 2012: Hey Jimmy Strobl,

    We have some pretty tough laws in Georgia, especially if it has to do with children. If you slap your kid you get slammed for assault, terrorizing your kid, using abusive language around a child, etc. They stack them up pretty high.

    We keep a good eye on sexual predetors so we have some tough laws about that.

    This is a good topic. I wonder if you would take a look at this link and see if it has any relevance to this question:
    This is a link to a news article I read about a Minister now, a politician and government official who is trying to get someone killed that lives in the United States. Do you think such practices should be illegal and should our Ambassador take them to task about it? Should we place a bounty on his head?

    Pakistan
    Pak minister places $100,000 bounty for 'anti-Islam' film-maker

    http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/Pakistan/Pak-minister-places-100-000-bounty-for-anti-Islam-film-maker/Article1-934188.aspx
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      Sep 23 2012: As a member of Amnesty International I'm always against the death penalty, however strongly I sometimes feel that a person has forfeited their right to live. No one, state or person should have the right to end someones life.
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        Sep 23 2012: Heavy duty stuff Jimmy. I respect the hard work you have to do to change a whole planets perception of pain, revenge and power over life and death. Thanks for answering my question.
  • Sep 22 2012: Honestly I am not a fan of the drinking and driving laws in my area.

    Its getting so that you can't have a drink after work, or go to a friends house and have one or two.
    I totally agree with it in a urban setting, but in the rural setting where I am from there is no public transit or anything like that.
    • Sep 23 2012: My oldest son probably isn't a fan of the drinking and driving laws in this area either, as he recently got his second charge, and is doing weekends in jail for a few months. This after he already went to jail, to get off probation, and had it all licked, but he had to drink and drive again, now he has a new five years probation.
      He's 24. I don't see him much, but if I did, I guess I'd say, don't drink and drive. This time he crashed into someone in a parking lot and a kid was in the car. I've been to jail also, but not for drinking and driving. I met a guy in there, in county jail, awaiting sentence for drinking and driving. He hit a lady in her car, and her teenage daughter is no longer with us. He payed a lawyer thousands of dollars, and was hoping for a minimal sentence. I read in the paper after I got out that he got 5 years. Hey, the child's dead. He was a nice guy. We watched baseball. One or two shouldn't be over the blood alcohol content limit. Fifteen or twenty are, or two nice huge glasses of booze by a friendly barkeep. I've gotten pulled over a few times drunk and let go. Good cops know who's okay and who isn't. I don't know the breathalyzer limit in canada, but I find your one or two claim a little dubious. One or two isn't going to get anyone a driving while intoxicated charge in my neighborhood.
      • Sep 23 2012: here it may not get you an official charge, but officers can now seize your vehicle for 3-4 days or something and also suspend your licence for a week for blowing over .05
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      Sep 23 2012: Here in Sweden the limit for drunk driving is 0.2‰ which I think is good. Basically this is zero tolerance since a regular beer gives most people a higher value then this.

      We have among the fewest fatal driving accidents in the world/capita.
      Over here we solve it by having a designated driver, taking public transport, a taxi or simply staying the night. There is no justification for raising the risks of killing someone because you have the urge for a drink and haven't planned that out fully.
      When driving, your reaction time, observation skills and judgement are crucial for making split-second decisions, these are all lowered by drinking. And being drunk isn't an on/off switch.
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        Sep 23 2012: You might want to check your math. In the U.S. the limit is .08, but I think you meant .02

        What is legal limit on marijuana?
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          Sep 23 2012: There is nothing wrong with my math (in this case) I didn't write "%" i wrote "‰".
          But yeah, that comes to .02%

          There is zero tolerance (in law) for marijuana here in Sweden.
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        Sep 23 2012: Ok my bad, what is that symbol called?

        Ok it is called per-mille which means parts per thousand

        according to the link

        .2 per mille = .2/1000 = .0002

        I think you meant 20 per-mille which would be .02

        But I'm sure you will correct me if I'm wrong.

        http://rapidtables.com/math/number/Per_mille.htm
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          Sep 23 2012: I didn't know the English word for it so I just looked it up, it's BAC (1/1000) according to Google Translate.
          In Swedish it's just "promille".
      • Sep 23 2012: Wow, that's a low limit. Depending on body weight, one drink per hour can keep a person under the .08 limit. So you can't even have that, you probably can't have one drink at all. I hear stories from friends who blew .2 or more. That's gotta be twenty drinks, thirty, and you're driving! Terrible.
        Probably don't even know what day it is.
        • Sep 23 2012: Making the limit so low makes things a lot easier I guess: you don't have to guess how many drinks would be permissible, you know the answer is 0, that's easy to remember and avoids discussions with the cops or your friends like "well, I'm a big guy, I think 1 beer won't hurt, well maybe 2, who knows even 3 if I wait an hour before I drive".

          Pat, please don't go the slippery slope route. If you say taking away a person's freedom to drunk drive and get people killed in the process automatically leads to a police state then I'm gonna say allowing people to drive drunk automatically leads to Lord Of The Flies anarchy.

          There are no mitigating circumstances in drunk driving, on average it will result in more damage than shoplifting and it is only because of cultural reasons that people think it's the other way around.
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          Sep 23 2012: You certainly have to have rules, but this is just another example of the top down/know best mentality. Just one step above prohibition, which created a lot of the organized crime of that era. Yea they sure made a difference by using the force inherent in government to take this liberty away from the individual.
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          Sep 23 2012: John,

          It makes clear sense, as you say you can't have a single drink and they have very large (and quite successful) campaigns advising against even driving the next day. Been that way for some years so it's even a well rooted mentality among many.

          People tend to cheat themselves with how drunk they are and the drunker they get the more they feel overconfident in their abilities to do just about anything, including driving.
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          Sep 23 2012: "People tend to cheat themselves with how drunk they are and the drunker they get the more you feel overconfident in your abilities to do just about anything, including driving."

          So it is best to determine what the individual can or cannot do, in other words we will make that decision for you.
        • Sep 23 2012: "So it is best to determine what the individual can or cannot do, in other words we will make that decision for you."

          Based on medical research and the fact that you can kill other people in a car accident.
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          Sep 23 2012: Pat,

          It's not "Just one step above prohibition", of course people should be allowed to drink!!!
          But people should not be allowed to put other innocent people in danger because of irresponsibility. And drinking and driving is doing just that.
          And yes, laws are not written in cafes, they are written at the "top" and applied "down"-wards.

          I don't really think that we have to worry about organized crime because people can't drink and drive.
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          Sep 23 2012: yes .you should be responsible for others'safety!.right
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          Sep 23 2012: Jimmy

          If it is not what would the next step be?

          There are mitigating factors regarding drinking and the ability to drive and there is no absolute regarding doing so safely, certainly it is above 20 per-mille. The bigger threat to driver safety is incompetence which any actuarial will tell you.

          The bigger point is that the government forcibly takes a liberty away from the individual in the name of, insert favorite rhetoric, when in reality it is by force.

          The next step would certainly be prohibition in your country, that certainly caused organized crime in this country. Similarly making marijuana illegal in the U.S. has caused most of the organized crime in Mexico.
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    Sep 22 2012: Inheritence tax
    I'm from Hungary and there are some tax related laws I really hate, but this is the one that disgusts me most... and I know it exists in many countries, but I also know that in some nice countries it is abolished or nonexistent.
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    Sep 20 2012: I recently got a ticket for not wearing a seat belt, it was a $172.00 a number of years ago I got the same ticket it was $25.00.

    This state allows since 1972 collective bargaining for state employees, this law was signed by Jerry Brown the then and current governor. This has resulted in huge pay increases in salary and pensions. Which has resulted in business leaving in droves and currently 3 cities have declared bankruptcy because of the pensions. California was once the 5th largest economy in the world currently it is the 9th.

    Calif has 12% of the population yet receives 1/3 of the welfare in the U.S. This is in large part because Calif in effect subsidizes illegal aliens which acts like a magnet for them. Which has metastasized into the work force, by giving immigrants an advantage over non subsidized labor.

    It has been voted the worst state to do business in for 8 straight years, because of taxes and regulations.

    Jimmy you might want to consider being a politician in California, of course you would have to ditch that baggage you call making a difference or morality, in Calif they would say those ideas are cute.
    • Sep 20 2012: "This state allows since 1972 collective bargaining for state employees, this law was signed by Jerry Brown the then and current governor. This has resulted in huge pay increases in salary and pensions."

      Isn't that the fault of the state though? They're the ones too incompetent to drive a hard bargain, unlike governments in other countries where the recent crisis has prompted public sector pay freezes that last for several years, can they blame the employees for being better at negotiating?
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        Sep 20 2012: I suppose this gets back to what you were talking about on the other thread as in effect JB was funded by the employee unions he did have an advantage of his father being a previous governor.

        Also my theory is that when the economy is strong is when it will support this kind of socialism, when there is no revenue such onerous indulgences cannot be afforded.

        It also points out the fundamental problem with the tyranny of a democracy.

        But the employee pensions are driving the cities to bankruptcy at which point their pensions are in jeopardy. Is that everyone Else's fault?
        • Sep 22 2012: I think public pensions are a problem, but you are glossing over worse problems that don't suit your worldview, such as California spending two times more money on prisons than on higher education. That's utterly ridiculous unless you want to emulate North Korea or Pakistan. Then there are the referendums where people can just vote to get rid of taxes without spending cuts, or the fact that California is dependent on very volatile high incomes.
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        Sep 22 2012: I didn't mention a bunch of stuff, that is not glossing over it, that is absurd.

        The prison problem was caused by the prison guard union and their pensions. Why are their so many prisoners you ask, I'm glad you asked.

        Because a proposition was passed in the mid 90's that said if you break break certain laws 3 times you go to jail for a longer time. This has caused some prisoners to go to jail for 25 years with the 3rd strike being shoplifting.

        Also most of the prisoners are for drug offenses that would not be a crime in other countries.

        But mostly Calif prisons cost way more than other states because of the prison guard union.30 years ago, 10% of the general fund went to higher education and only 3% went to prisons. Today, almost 11% goes to prisons and only 7.5% goes to higher education.

        The legislators have set budgets that consume all of the revenue in good times of course there is short fall now.

        Since Calif cannot print money there will have to be cuts and it will be bloody.
        • Sep 22 2012: "I didn't mention a bunch of stuff, that is not glossing over it, that is absurd."

          You said something was the most important problem while neglecting a host of bigger problems, that's glossing over.

          "Because a proposition was passed in the mid 90's that said if you break break certain laws 3 times you go to jail for a longer time. This has caused some prisoners to go to jail for 25 years with the 3rd strike being shoplifting.

          Also most of the prisoners are for drug offenses that would not be a crime in other countries."

          Yup, but it's pathetic to blame prison guard unions for this instead of private prison corporations or just the sentiments of the general population.

          "30 years ago, 10% of the general fund went to higher education and only 3% went to prisons. Today, almost 11% goes to prisons and only 7.5% goes to higher education."

          And this proves the problem lies with prison guard unions how exactly?

          "But mostly Calif prisons cost way more than other states [...]"

          Where did you come up with that? Who says California's prisons spend more per prisoner? Prisoners in such liberal states as Texas and Florida don't cost any less, neither do prisoners in Belgium and Canada.
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        Sep 22 2012: Nope I had it correct as with the prison problem it is about pension cost caused by collective bargaining.


        The connection is a correlation.

        The cost comparison is in this report:

        http://www.vera.org/download?file=3542/Price%2520of%2520Prisons_updated%2520version_072512.pdf

        Calif cost per prisoner is 47k per year many states are in the 20-30k range

        Calif spends 7 billion a year on prisons the closest state is N.Y. at 2.7 billion
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      Sep 20 2012: I would only point out one other factor Pat. California, is the Federal governments pinata, and they steal money from us to fund programs throughout the world... mostly, in the Republican controlled south.

      For every dollar in Federal Income Tax, that California pays, the Federal government spends 1 dollar and 40 cents. So we give them a dollar, and take on 40 cents of debt (I think it might be more like 60 cents of debt now)... What does the federal government spend in California? Between 70 and 80 cents...

      How much do they spend in New Mexico, where "Republicans" are in charge? 2 dollars, for every dollar of tax the people pay. Alabama? 1.71 MS? 1.80... New York... Where liberals are in charge, who want all the federal spending? 80 cents.

      Do you see a theme emerging here? The Federal Government is taking money out of successful liberal states, and spending it in unsuccessful "Republican" states, in order to reduce unemployment and pretend "Republican" policy is working. If California was recieving 1.40 for it's dollar in tax, and 40 cents in debt, it would still be number five. So while I agree with you, that reducing government is the solution... I don't agree that collective bargaining is at fault. The fact we keep giving our money to the federal government to subsidize states that don't take care of their people... is what's at fault.

      "Republican" states spend way money on social programs, than California does, they just tax us for it, rather than their own people.

      http://taxfoundation.org:81/sites/taxfoundation.org/files/docs/sr139.pdf
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        Sep 21 2012: I see what you are saying. But that is not the main reason.
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          Sep 23 2012: Yes, it is, numerically, objectively the reason. All in All, the federal government takes 128 Billion, with a B, out of Californias pocket every year, choosing instead to spend it in Republican districts, who hate the government, but live in rural poverty, so desperately need it to build military bases, roads, and give their children jobs.

          Over the last decade that accounts for 1.28 trillion dollars leaving California, to fund campaigns in Arkansas, Nebraska, and Alabama. I mean, for the social welfare... they "hate" so much.
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        Sep 23 2012: The current spending is 16 trillion (with a T) upside down but you are saying this is more important.

        In my best Spock voice, but captain that is illogical.
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          Sep 23 2012: We were talking about the state of California, and the fees going up for your seatbelt violation... certainly an issue of supreme importance. The objective, verifiable, numerical reason that the California State budget is upside down, and California state fell from 5th to 9th... Is because Republican states spent 1.3 trillion of our tax dollars building bridges to nowhere... and their social programs.

          16 Trillion, with a T, is the federal budget, i mean debt, thx John.... Very different topic of conversation. Obviously numbers, math, and facts confuse you.

          Finally, what happened in the 80's when Reagan gave California it's money back? I think something interesting with computers happened...

          Then, in 1994 when Clinton was running like 10% over budget... He gave California back 98 cents... Didn't a whole bunch of people, make a whole bunch of money? Something to do with computers... I think.
        • Sep 23 2012: "The current spending is 16 trillion (with a T)"

          No, current federal spending is 3.8 trillion, GDP is 15.1 trillion, the deficit for 2013 is expected to be 0.9 trillion and the federal debt is 16 trillion.

          Now I do believe that New York unfairly benefits from having Wall Street on its soil but California doesn't have such an inherent advantage over red states so the effect David Hamilton describes is very real.
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        Sep 23 2012: Yes both of you confuse me.

        David

        Do you have any correlation between the Fed taking more than they gave causing the decline in Cali's economy?

        Do you have a reason why this is more important than the federal spending and borrowing .4 of every dollar to pay it not to mention printing money(QE 3) to pay it?

        John current debt meaning the debt that is currently owed. This is not connected to GDP
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          Sep 23 2012: In 1984, and 1985, during the Reagan administration, California reacieved a tax surplus for the only time in its history. This is also the only time in history it had the 5th largest economy in the world. http://www.calinst.org/pubs/balance2003.htm

          Unfortunately, once again, "reality holds a strong liberal bias" Stephen Colbert.
        • Sep 25 2012: "John current debt meaning the debt that is currently owed"

          Yes, and you mistakenly called it "current spending", I hope you were just confused, if you really thought federal spending was 16 trillion I can see why you'd think spending is off the charts.

          "This (debt) is not connected to GDP"

          Where did I say it was?
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        Sep 23 2012: I'm not contesting your point other than it is not as important as overspending by the Federal government. Of which if kept in check they wouldn't need to rob the states.

        Also the bigger problem that the state can actually do something about is the Public Union pensions which are estimated to be $500 billion
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        Sep 25 2012: John

        The current debt is 16 trillion dollars the colloquial hockey stick graph yea it is something to worry about all right. not to mention the unfunded liabilities.
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      Sep 23 2012: Fines have gone way up in Georgia too.
      doubled or higher in most instances.
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        Sep 23 2012: Does Georgia have collective bargaining for public employees?